tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC June 29, 2012 4:00am-5:00am EDT
we don't take care of our own. but it will be okay. >> free clinics like those, with americans lining up for days and some days camping out for a chance to see a doctor or dentist because there's no other way in this country to get care, that is hard to understand for the richest country on earth. in alabama just last month n a part of the state called the black belt for its fertile, dark, rich circle, alabama last month welcomed the united states military to come in and set up a clinic to provide basic health care to alabama residents. over less than two weeks, military doctors treated more than 12,000 people, 12,000 americans in an area with few doctors and a multitude of medical problems. aside from general health care screening and nutrition screening, military doctors are fitting patients for eyeglasses and pulling teeth by the dozens because there isn't any other way for these americans to get basic care.
we don't have a system for that in america. part of the reason the military has started doing this, not just in alabama, but mississippi, arkansas, other places, is because it is good training for our military. the associated press writing up this event in alabama "operatioç black belt," noting that by doing these clinics, our servicemen and women "learn to set up health clinics and other to be clear, we don't have to do clinics like this because there's been disaster in these places, the disaster here is just the normal status quo, access to health care in parts of the united states and for millions of americans is an appropriate dress rehearsal is for the u.s. military training for earthquakes and floods in the developing world. we are a rich country but have an inefficient, poorly run health care system that does not work. not only doesn't work for people
for whom it doesn't work, it doesn't work for us as a country. look at this, this is what australia spends per capita on health care and canada as well, now i think we've also got germany and the netherlands there. here's new zealand's and the united kingdom, the per capita health care costs, and here's the united states. we spend double what other modern, well-off industrialized nations spend on health care, c and for the privilege of paying twice as much as everybody else, we get something those other countries just don't have, we get 30 million people with no health care coverage, no access to a regular doctor, no way to get something checked out before it gets serious. tens of millions of americans dependent upon begging at the emergency room or camping out overnight for charity care, and even if you do have coverage, as a country we are not getting great care. compared too(her like countries, we get a worse life expectancy, fewer doctors per capita, fewer hospital beds per
capita. we're ranked second to last on quality of care. part of the reason, it's not working right, is that the system we have got in our country was never designed to be a system. during world war ii, when the nation was 110% devoted to the war effort and industrial production was turning to war-time purposes and war-time wage controls and price controls limited the way that businesses could compete for workers who they desperately needed and were in short supply, businesses then started offering health insurance as an extra perk to try to attract workers. the idea the population being insured through private insurance routed through who your employer is is an accident. over time, we've kept that accident, and we've tried to patch together fixes to work around the worst implications of that accident. for the elderly who weren't working, so they are not going to get covered by any employer, we came up with medicare. for the very poor or for the
disabled who also aren't working or who are working at jobs so low wage that they'll never offer benefits, we came up with medicaid. for veterans to whom the nation promises health care as a rather sacred deal we make with them in exchange for them dying for the country if asked to do so, for veterans, there's the va health system. for people laid off and on the way to their next job but need a bridge to keep their coverage between employers, ronald reagan signed something into law called cobra, it allows you to extend ç your health insurance after you left your old company. for kids who are not covered on their parents' insurance for some reason, there is a health insurance program that's specific to kids, it's called s-chip, and all of those fixes arranged by the government, all of those fixes do work in their own way for the people they are designed to serve. honestly, cobra sucks, because it's expensive, but everything else works, medicare is beloved
and much lower overhead costs than the private insurance system, but for everybody that's not covered by those policy patches we've come up with, one of those fixes, the system has just been still based on that initial accidental non-system of private insurance through the place where you work, and that system means very, very expensive care, it means out of control rising and unpredictable costs for american businesses who are providing that coverage, which is a responsibility that, frankly, their international competitors do not have, and for families or god forbid for individuals trying to pay coverage, costs are just out of control. it is not a real system, it's a crazy quilt patchwork that does not work for the country. even the people it does work for, it doesn't work for you because of the pointless drag this non-system is on our economy as a country. after democrats trying and failing to reform this mess in the 1990s and republicans
rejoicing at that failure and the problem just still getting worse, when the new democratic president and congress were elected in 2008, they decided to 9ñ and you know what, they did it in the most conservative way possible, a cautious, centrist, tested approach, they used as a template the republican an from 1993, a plan that had been implemented in one u.s. state by the most unlikely presidential nominee, but even with all those republican and bipartisan branches extended, even following the most conservative possible to reform, they got no republican help to pass it. republicans then turned to the conservative majority u.s. supreme court arguing they should now be seen as unconstitutional, if not teheranical. today, of course, as you may have already heard, the court said no to that, put a rest to that, so we have reformed. we have a restrained incremental reform that keeps together that
patchwork private insurance system, but reforms it. it trades between the government and those private insurance companies, a deal, an agreement by the companies to lower costs in exchange for those companies getting millions more customers, millions more people covered by private insurance. it is a pretty small-seed conservative reform, but even that was almost politically impossible, almost. now, a few practical, pretty non-ideological forward-thinking states like vermont and montana have been talking about trying to move their states to an even more cogent system, to a single-payer system, that gets rid of the expensive bureaucratic layer and expands medicare to cover everybody. both of those states, ç incidentally, border canada, which has that kind of a system and apparently that kind of a system looks good from up close. but for the country as a whole, today was a landmark day. today was a victory for policy,
for the now apparently totally partisan notion that if we see problems, systemic problems in our country, we should try to solve them using our constitutional small deed democratic representative american system of government. it was a historic plan of flag, state your position stay today, a declaration politics of something other than just for fighting, it's for policy, for trying to tackle and surmount even our most entrenched problems. today, there is a freak out on the right, much strategizing on the left, more of that to come during this hour. the court itself avoided a crisis of caricatured raw partisanship in that branch of government, but it's worth looking at the biggest possible picture, right? and big picture, this is a simple, strong, good thing, if you agree in the simple, strong, good idea that as a country we can solve our problems through
the american system that we've got. we can solve problems using what the founders gave us, a constitutional defined representative system of, yes, government, through which we shape solutions. the political process for all of its nonsense and static is here to produce policy. policy to solve problems, even ç the big problems. joining us now is dahlia lithwick, senior editor at slate.com, who is at the court for today's ruling, dahlia, thank you for being here, nice to have you here. >> thank you for having me back, rachel, it is a big, big day. >> it is, and legally the court said this congress, this law is allowed to do this particular big thing, to try to solve this problem that we've got in this specific way, but is there kind of a trap door in this ruling in saying, yeah, congress can do this, but it can't do a lot of other things it thought it could do under the commerce clause, is there sort of a hidden message in this ruling? >> i think there was some fear
early this morning, you know, on some of the con law list serves that i hang out on that maybe there's a poison pill in here, that there's a really, really crabbed version of commerce clause power that comes out of this or, you know, that the medicaid expansion, which was struck down as it exists, that that really could be consequential, but i think over the course of the day what i heard more and more is actually, these are pretty constrained rulings, that there were not five votes that were clear votes on what the commerce clause power is. chief john roberts wrote for himself and they did not agree with him, so we don't have exactly five votes, we might have a lot of dicta, that's legalese for throat clearing, so i don't know that there's a poison pill in here. i think this might be a one time only moment, and furthermore, as long as we call this a tax going forward, rachel, we won't have this problem afqin.
>> in terms of calling it a tax, i believe that was a legally crucial distinction. let me float to you what i think that means in policy terms. as far as i can see, the federal government decides things like when you buy gas, we're putting a tax on that, if you're buying gas, you're driving a car, driving the roads, we need to tax on that. not forced to buy gas, but if you do, there's a tax. similarity, everybody else has to pay for your freaking care when you show up at the emergency room and we decide not to let you die. in exchange of not letting you die, therefore, covering your uninsured care, we're going to tax your decision to not have health insurance. it's the same principle at work, legally speaking. that's how i understood it as a non-lawyer, is that basically right? >> that's it. chief justice john roberts alone among the conservatives say the government has broad taxing powers, broad powers under the
spending clause, and even though they deliberately didn't call this a tax and that irks him a little, it's a tax. it walks like a tax, quacks like a tax, so it's a tax, so yes, the government can levy taxes and that's what this is, and therefore, even though the commerce clause power is exceeded, the tax power is perfectly acceptable and the law stands. >> and specifically, it's been interesting to watch the evolution of the interpretation of the ruling on the right today, particularly in conservative media, and they've now decided that because justice roberts used that term "tax" toç describe why he thought the individual mandate was legal, and i think he was specifically talking about the penalty you have to pay if you decide to be uninsured, they decided it's a broad-based tax on everybody in the country in order to have health reform. that isn't what he meant, is it? >> no, i think what he meant, you should have called this a tax in the first place, obama administration, you knew it was one, there were political reasons you didn't, but i sure
wish you had and it's a tax. people can choose to pay it or not, there are no criminal consequences for not paying it, move on. i think really what he was saying was i found a way to save this bill. he's very eloquent, by the way, in saying look, this is what the courts are tasked with doing. they are tasked with being humble, with saving as much as the legislation as they can, i choose to find a constitutional way to uphold this bill, because that's what the courts should do, so really actually what he did today was very much in keeping with the promises he made at his confirmation hearing, to take the court out of the story and let the political branches sort this out. >> dahlia lithwick, senior editor at slate.com, big picture, as always, thank you, dahlia, i really appreciate it. >> thank you, rachel. all right, we have one of the obama administration lawyers who helped defend health reform in the courts joining us next, and we've got ezra klein and the best new thing in the world and lots more and maybe i'll have another coughing fit and have to go to early commercial like i did last night. anything could happen. please, stay with us.
as cases over the constitutionality of president obama's health reform law worked their way through the federal appeals court systems, the argue by neal katyal, the former acting solicitor general of the united states. joins us now on the occasion of the supreme court upholding that law is neal katyal, who is now at georgetown law and in private practice, the former firm of chief justice john roberts. mr. katyal, thank you so much
for joining us tonight, great to have you here. >> it's great to be here. >> most court watchers with less experience than you were expecting that if the liberal side won today it would be because justice kennedy swung to their side, that didn't happen, it was justice roberts who swung instead. do you think that was important, and should more people have seen it coming? >> yeah, i do think more people should have seen it coming, i think during his confirmation hearings to be chief justice he promised judicial restraint, judicial humility, trying to see things aaccurately and apolitical as possible and those that worked for him saw that in him and took a lot of heat, frankly, from the left when we id good things about him, and low and behold, i think that's what you have here. i don't want to say, you know, you could view this decision in lots of different ways, but the one really important thing about
the decision is it's really an apolitical decision, i mean, the chief justice did what i always teach my law students (-"ur which is pretend the parties are reversed and think like a lawyer and say, you know, who should win this case regardless of who the party is, who's on what side of the "v" in the case caption, and that's what he did here, it's a good model to be celebrated. >> in terms of the, i guess, political view of the court and the heat that flies from left to right and right to left around decisions like this, the right is going nuts today denouncing justice roberts as a traitor and worse. i just wonder if there is -- you're speaking to me as a liberal speang to an audience that here's my political view over the course of this hour, if you have a response you think can be constructive in looking at that political pillaring that he's receiving today. >> yeah, i think that in this town, particularly in d.c., but across the country, everyone thinks about issues like there are the republican justices or
the democratic justices, and i think what the decision today says and chief justice roberts most poignantly says, no, there are nine justices, and we approach these things as apolitically as possible, and you saw not just the chief crossing so-called party lines, you saw kagan and briere also today. and so i think ultimately what this decision is, it's a resounding victory for the rule of law of the idea that, you know, let's all take a step back and view this stuff a little more apolitically and as a straight-up law, and, you know, if republicans are right that the affordable care act is bad
if you were online at all today, you probably saw this. it's the famous dewey defeats truman photo reimagined as president obama learning the wrong news about his supreme court ruling from cnn online. this was created and tweeted by a former new york daily news reporter, named gary he, who later in the day tweeted this, my new twitter followers will be disappointed this weekend when i live tweet my panda hunting expedition with john boehner, let me tell you. now gary he is the king of the internet, at least he's the king of my internet. but why did some of the initial reporting on this historic supreme court ruling today go so badly, and who got it really ostentatiously right in the face of a lot of other people screwing it up.
that's the subject of the best new thinin the world today, and it's really good. it's coming up. ♪ loyalty discounts, safe driver discounts, paperless discounts. progressive keeps finding me new ways to save me money on my car insurance. you're sure to save it forward. i see you're a healthy eater. you qualify for a healthy eater's discount. oh, my gosh! thank you. you're welcome. dropping off the shopping cart discount. why are you doing it? because of the hundreds i saved at progressive. and that's when i told her about progressive online! [ all chuckling ] all right, look busy, the manager is coming.
you could almost tell by the body language of the democrats and republicans in washington how each side thought this thing was going to shake out. republicans thought they were going to win at the supreme court today, and i think the democrats thought they were going to lose. that was the beltway common wisdom, how both sides of the aisle were behaving yesterday. democrats were bracing themselves and republicans were poised to pop champagne. surprise. had they won, republicans, 2 c1 obviously, would have had a huge political cudgel, it would have undone the greatest legislative achievement of president obama's first term, one of the greatest democratic achievements ever, and their caricature of him as an overreaching president would have moved mainstream, so there was great potential reward for republicans in having challenged this law, had they won, and the risk to them was, frankly, not that big. the republicans did lose badly at the court, but they are where they were before in politics, vehemently opposed to health
care reform, but their own idea for what we ought to do is still we ought to kill medicare, which is the one thing in our health care system that everybody likes and everybody agrees is sort of working, so th's baggage a for them, baggage b for them is their presidential nominee is a guy that did this exact same health reform policy at the state level, so that's where republicans were before the ruling and after the ruling too, a clear position with a ton of baggage, so they had a lot to gain if health reform was struck down today, but they had almost nothing to lose. on the democratic side, there was a ton to lose. the elimination of the president's big legislative achievement, right, the boost to the republicans who have been attacking him on this for so long. conceivably, maybe the democrats would be able to salvage if this ruling had gone against him, how partisan the supreme court is, but that was pretty most the democrats could have salvaged out of this had the ruling gone the other way.
the big question now, which body's really talking about ç today, but i think is the most important political point here about this, it's this, there was a lot of potential risk on the democratic side, had they lost. since the democrats didn't lose, what's the democratic reward for winning, what do the democrats win by winning this court ruling today? what they win is this. >> insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive. they can no longer discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions. they can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick. they can no longer jack up your premiums without reason. they are required to provide free preventive care like checkups and mammograms, a provision that's already helped 54 million americans with private insurance, and by this august, nearly 13 million of you will receive a rebate from your insurance company because it spent too much on things like administrative costs and ceo
bonuses and not enough on your health care. there's more. because of the affordable care act, young adults under the age of 26 are able to stay on their parents' health care plans, a provision that's already helped 6 million young americans, and because of the affordable care act, seniors receive a discount on their prescription drugs, a discount that's already saved more than 5 million seniors on medicare about $600 each. all of this is happening because of the affordable care act. these provisions provide common sense protections for middle class families and they enjoy broad popular support. and thanks to today's decision, all of these benefits and ç protections will continue for americans who already have health insurance. >> those were the president's first remarks today upon learning that the supreme court ruling had gone his way, they had upheld his signature health reform law. the president talked this much about the politics of it, but mostly talked about the details of the law, he was like a
brochure, he talked about how you get health care, how this law will solve a lot of problems we had in our health care system, how it may benefit your family specifically. here's how to do it. here's how it's going to work. the president getting into the specifics today. the chance to have the country pay attention to those specifics today, the chance to reclaim the boogey man under the bed that is obamacare and remind you what it actually is is the thing to get your kid on health insurance even though your kid has some pre-existing condition, that's what the democrats won today, a chance to make that case because they blew the chance in the first place. that's the whole political enchilada here. there is a template for how to do this and have it work. awkwardly for mitt romney, that state is massachusetts, which under him passed the same policy r that state that the obama administration and congressional democrats passed for the whole country. i mean, look, this is mitt romney's official portrait from
his time as governor as massachusetts, see in the props here, some painting behind him, try to figure out what that is today, a boat or fish or something, you got a lamp, a flag, picture of his wife, and wait a second, what's that other thing? hey, nothing's done by accident, yeah, a folder on the desk nextç to him that has the medical symbol with the snakes on it. that's what his official portrait is. his portrait summed up his time in office by two things, being married to ann romney and also that bill, passing health reform. that's it, married, health reform. massachusetts passed romney's health care plan in 2006, it went into effect almost immediately, and they rolled it out with a big p.r. campaign in massachusetts to tell the state how this new thing worked, why the state had done it, and how it was going to benefit you, so anybody who may have been upset about the individual mandate part of it in massachusetts, which is exactly the same in the
state level as the federal level, anybody upset may have been upset, but did hear a ton of messaging about the other side of the argument, the case for why massachusetts did this. >> i've got it. >> we've got it. >> we've got it. >> got what? health insurance. massachusetts residents are now required to have it and the state's health connector makes it more affordable and easy to get. >> i got it. >> me too. >> call or go to our website to compare plans, get information, and choose the right plan for you, get medical care and preventive and financial protection. >> we've got it. >> get health insurance now through the state's health connector. >> the state of massachusetts rolled out a big advertising campaign to tout the benefits and explain how it worked. did you catch the guy in the sling, by the way? that guy, in addition to being an actor in this commercial, is a guy who personally benefitted from health insurance being ç signed into law in his state. >> man, i must be getting soft.
>> gabriel field plays an uninsured man in a tv commercial. >> don't wait until it's too late. >> it turns out in real life, fields himself couldn't afford insurance for two years, but through the new massachusetts program, he gets low-cost, subsidized insurance, paying $220 a month, half his old premium. >> without health insurance, you feel like you're gambling. >> massachusetts did a ton of these ads in a way that had a simple message, and, of course, they used the massachusetts version of religious patriotism, which is the boston red sox, and it wasn't just showing guys walking on the field at fenway park, they actually got real red sox players to take part in the ad campaign, or at least a guy that was a red sox player at the time to take part in it. >> in massachusetts, we're leading the way. the state's health connector has affordable plans, lots to choose from, and easy signup, and in massachusetts, even if you lose your job, you can still get
coverage. so visit the health connector today. >> that was the great red sox pitcher tim wakefield, mr. charisma. i know we are five years on from that and the red sox are having a difficult year, thank you, bobby valentine, but this one state's pilot version of our national health reform law does not suck the way the red sox do this year. it has worked really well in massachusetts. the proportion of people who now have health insurance in massachusetts is 98%, 98% of people in the state are insured. that is the highest rate in the nation.ç nearly 100% of massachusetts' kids are insured. 90% of doctors in the state say the quality of care has improved since the reform law went into effect and massachusetts residents like it by a nearly 2-1 margin and even that poll was taken in the middle of the republican presidential primary when candidates were talking about how awful the massachusetts plan is because it's the same as what president obama did for the country, so even with a national political campaign where everybody's slagging off the massachusetts'
health plan, a, it works, and, b, massachusetts likes it. here's the thing, though, the most important political thing about health reform at the national level is this difference in this chart. within a year of this law being signed in massachusetts, it was going into effect, within a year, the major reforms were taking place, and in that year, that short window of opportunity, the state owned the air waves, blanketing the state with the good news about the law passing and what you needed to do and how it was going to be great for you and the state and yeah, red sox. at the federal level, though, same reform, but look at that. thanks to the democrats' pleading efforts to try to get some republicans on board with it in congress, one of the things we ended up with this is four-year implementation plan, and during those four years, nobody is blanketing the country with an equivalent of yeah, red sox, isn't health reform great? instead, we've got a quarter of a billion dollars being spent by opponents from this president,
that this law is murder and satan and stubbing your toe all rolled into one.ç it's not health reform, it's obamacare, it's awful, i don't know what it is, but it's definitely awful, comes from the government, the government's awful. quarter billion dollars. yes, there have been comparatively meager efforts to let people know about what the law is and its benefits and how you can take advantage of them, but a quarter of a billion dollars spent against it, it's like spitting into a win. a $20 million contract with a ad agency to try to explain to people about the benefits of the law, the republicans in congress want that contract cancelled. i wonder why that is. so today, health reform was upheld as constitutional at the supreme court. political pandemonium, all eyes on the president, and he steps up to the same lectern and makes his first remarks to the nation on the most important supreme court in a decade and not longer
and he uses that occasion to be a human brochure, you can stay on your parents' health insurance instead of being kicked off. right, that's exactly the right thing to do. the details, the policy, the political reward to be reaped here is the success of the policy, and because of this huge implementation lag of the policy, the only way that you get there is by teaching the country, reminding the country, selling the country, marketing to the country what it is that this law does, to neutralize the fear about it, and to get credit for actually making things better in a material way for just about every family in the country and starting to fix a problem that has flummoxed us for decades. the white house shows they get that by having the president doç an explanatory ad for health reform with his first very high-profile comments after the supreme court ruling, and if everyone else is as smart as the white house on this, people who want the president to be elected, allies of the president, would start coming up
with $250 million of their own to repeat that message, to sell that message, to sell this accomplishment beyond what the president did behind that lectern today, because the forces against the president were not dumb when they spent a quarter billion dollars arguing against this law. it is his signature legislative achievement. it is a signature democratic achievement for all time. if it is a victory and it is seen as a victory, he definitely wins a second term. if his opponents still get to define what that achievement is and get to define it as something scary instead of something good, then not only do we lose the reform of our broken health care system, but the democrats lose their shot at a second term. advice from me, democrats and liberals, sell health reform now or forever hold your peace.
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i know the debate over this law has been divisive.ç i respect the very real concerns that millions of americans have shared, and i know a lot of coverage through this health care debate has focussed on what it means politically, well, it should be pretty clear by now that i didn't do this because it was good politics. i did it because i believed it was good for the country. i did it because i believed it was good for the american people. >> i did it because i believed
it was good for the country. that was president obama about two hours after the supreme court upheld his signature health reform law today. the president used his first remarks after the ruling today to resell health reform to the country. to make a very, very, very detailed case about what it offers, while the fight over the bill may have been divisive, the policy itself will prevail, and here why that's a good thing for you and your family. joining us now, ezra klein, ezra, it's great to see you, i've been really excited to talk to you all day. >> i can't wait, good evening. >> does the president have a chance of closing the gap between people who are afraid of this law, don't like this law, and people who do like the component parts of it? >> in an election year, i'm pessimistic on this. the white house believes firmly, 100%, that president obama's legacy will be the affordable care act. in 30 years, if people remember
him as a great president, part of the reason why is because he passed the affordable care act, if they don't, somebody who lost in his first term, probably why in large part is the affordable care act, so the question for them is how to do you keep(tie affordable care act alive long enough it starts delivering benefits and sells itself, you're not going to be able to sell this through the air waves, you need to keep the thing alive so it can actually deliver health care to 33 million americans, and for that, the question is how does barack obama get reelected, that's the fundamental question they are asking and the answer may not be try to sell the affordable care act, it may be attack mitt romney on bain capital. >> how did we end up with this political framework why is the affordable care act. i think the question for them is
how do you get -- how do you keep it alive long enough that it can then sell itself to them. you have to keep it alive to >> democrats, con receiver tif democrats in order to get them on the bill. 60 democrats, you had to get every one of them. they wanted it to be under $1 trillion. they played a gimmick. okay, we'll delay implementation until 2014 and in the congressional office budget, you'll only score 10 yrs. so if you'ring looing at six years, you could have a generous bill that's under $1 trillion, but even though in the second 10 years it's not under $1 trillion. in the end, they thought they were getting something good out of that and they got something very, very bad because the bill was not able to begin delivering care quickly.ç i think this was a strategic
blunder on their part and the whole question is how do you keep this thing alive until that moment when real ordinary people in large number best gin to benefit from it and see it is not this terrifying thing, it's delivering health care to 33 million people in this country. >> it may have been a blunder, it may have also been necessary to pass the bill at all. although, there are some elements in the bill, and the president talked about this today, that have gone into effect already. not everything waiting until 2014 when it rolls into effect. is there political potency to the elements of the law that have already rolled out anticipate gone into effect? >> absolutely. everything that's actually gone into effect, both republicans and insurance companies have basically promised not to undo. so you had kids until age 26 being able to stay on their parents' plan. no pre-existing condition discrimination for children. you have medical, insurance companies having to spend a certain amount of their premium
dollars on actual health care instead of administration advertising. and a lot of this stuff, you've been listening to republicans, they promised if this got overturned today, they're going to restore. so as piece by piece of this actually comes into effect. people like the fact that their kids can be on their health care. they like the fact that their kids can't be discriminated against for pre-existing conditions. but so far, that's not affecting all that many people and it is nibbling around the margins. the big bulk of it comes in a couple of years, but if this isç any indication of what we're going to see, people like it a lot. they like being protected from both insurance companies and from bad luck. >> ezra klein, nbc policy analyst and somebody who never has to apologize for being boring because you have yet to be boring. >> well, thank you. >> at least here. thank you, ezra, i appreciate it. you know, i will say that the really bold move here, i mean, maybe it's true. maybe nobody messages for health reform on the election and it depends on who's the next
president. the but the bold move here would be for the president to use massachusetts as the example. to say look, this is the template. look what mitt romney did. 100% insurance rate for kids. 98% for the rest of the population. look how well it's working for massachusetts and great care. you're about to stay that. stick with me.
the best news of the day began with a metaphor call train wreck. >> the individual mandate has been ruled unconstitutional. >> it appears as if the supreme court justices has struck down the individual mandate, the centerpiece of the legislation. >> the court striking down that mandate is a dramatic blow to the policy and to the president politically. >> none of that was true. false. wrong.
those people there were living every journalist's nightmare on live tv. and i feel for them deeply. there but for the grace of god. the supreme court did not strike down health reform. it upheld health reform. but a lot of the news got bumbled, got turned inside night because folks did not wait for the upheld shoe to drop right oç top of the struck down shoe. so you might have walked away with the wrng impression. even president obama reportedly thought his law had lost because he was in the white house watching cable news. frankly, that's bad for us in cable news. it's not like the president loved cable news to begin with. how do you think he feels about it now? as he was starting to absorb the fake bad news, the president, however, was interrupted by reality. white house counsel reportedly gave the president two thumb's up in the oval office. the white house had one.
she had the ruling right because she got it from another white house lawyer who was at the supreme court and also from a website called scotus blog. you and i don't have a white house lawyer waiting to relay information like that to us. but you and i do have scotus blog as in supreme court of the united states. it's a small operation most days. it's a hangout for lawyers and law professors who obscure parsing obscure court rulings and precedence. it's a calling card for a law firm called goldstein and russell, which specializes in supreme court cases. it's sponsored by bloomberg law, but mostly scotus law is a labor of love. and scotus blog's beating heart is this man, 81-year-old lyle deniston. he has covered scotus for half a century. twice now, he has retired from
covering the supreme court.ç but he's unretired now. he's reinvented hymn as a blogger, a senior citizen blogger who says he's still not all that crazy with technology. but this morning, it was this octogenarian, technology-resistant lyle deniston's job to grab a copy and dash down to his cube ball where he read it to his editor over skype so scotus blog could accurately break the news to everyone. for the wi well done. best new thing in the world today. if i'm half as useful at 81, i will consider it both unlikely and a personal victory. . . high states ruling. the supreme court upholds president obama's reforms.
hundreds of homes go up in flames in colorado's worst-ever wild fire. dazzling display, royal diamonds take the spotlight to queen elizabeth's diamond jubilee. those stories and more are straight ahid. this is lynn berry. this is "first look" on msnbc. we're going to begin this morning with the landmark decision. republicans say the fight is far from over. democrats are calling the sureme court's decision on president obama's health care reform law, a major victory. in a 5-4 ruling tipped by the court's chief just is it is, the affordable care act was deemed legal and constitutional. steve handelsman reports. >> reporter: the crowd outside the court was su